What are the Moral Sciences?
The Moral Sciences comprise Psychology, Philosophy, Economics, Ethics, all placed in the context of history and human nature. These subjects were taught integrated prior to the over-specialization that evolved in 20th century universities. While specialization is the key to both growin knowledge and an advanced economy, as early as early as 1959 C.P. Snow pointed to the problems in knowledge this could produce, in his essay, The Two Cultures.
This separation has reinforced the notion that economics is a “dismal science,” that psychology is fun, but useless, and Philosophy – well, really? Increasingly, universities are integrating fields in recognition that a) dealing with complex problems requires knowledge from mulitple discplines, b) students learn faster and more effectively when knowledge is integrated, and c) that keeping professors and disciplines in their respective silos only worsens the problem that Snow called to our attention. Stanford's recent outgoing President credited their rise from a strong regional university over the past few decades to their willingness to teach interdisciplinary. For example, their newest building houses professors from seven different fields!
The University of Arizona -- ranked the number one political science department in the world -- in 2018 renamed their department "Political Economy & Moral Science." At Reagan, I had a Moral Sciences banner, signifying my commitment to that approach, since 2010.
To complete the Moral Sciences at Reagan (AP Psychology, AP Macroeconomis, Philosophy) is to immerse yourself in the study of humane science, not disconnected from our humanity or separated from other disciplines. It is to attempt to identify human nature, how it can be guided but not changed, and how in turn that cultivates a prosperous, free society that respects human beings as individuals. It recognizes how humans can improve, but not be improved, since history shows that attempts at perfetibility end disastorously. It is to study the limits of human knowledge and human methods. It is to recognize that the methods of the "hard sciences," such as Chemistry and Physics, are not applicable to the human animal. The Social Sciences, so-called "soft sciences" have different methodologies. The "laws" are stochaistic, not deterministic, i.e. they are generally true, so finding exceptions doesn't nullify them.
The Moral Sciences are the study of human action, with methods devised to study humans, not elements. Only through studying the Moral Sciences can we take two steps forward and only one step back. That ought to be enough.
A.P. Psychology studies how psychology has evolved as a science, through the main schools of thought, to modern brain scans and what they reveal. We’ll study the biological basis of behavior and the evolutionary advantage our behaviors provide. Learn how to set up double-blind studies and falsify theories. Memory, language, intelligence (is it inherited or learned?), personality theory, mental disorders, what is love, and the biological basis of beauty are all covered.
Philosophy studies metaphysics (the nature of things), epistemology (how we know what we know), ethics (how should we act), political philosophy (what social systems should we adopt), logic (how to think rationally), aesthetics (the study of beauty & form), and Eastern philosophy (Zen, Taoism, Confucianism). Also will learn how to write for the real world.
A.P. Macroeconomics studies the principles of economics that apply to an economic system as a whole, such as national income, price determination, economic performance measures, economic growth and international economics. Students will learn the big ideas that have moved free economies forward (specialization, comparative advantage, opportunity cost, spontaneous order) and the big names who discovered them (Smith, Ricardo, Bastiat, Keynes, Friedman, Hayek, Mises) Further, you will learn how these apply to your life outside of economics.
* Students who complete all three courses will develop a unique perspective on human nature; thus, they will receive a certificate suitable for framing, in addition to the admiration of their peers, and the adulation of young children.